Our specially trained math instructors will teach your child how to understand math in an individual setting; our unique approach enables us to explain concepts really well and lend a helping hand to every student. Our tutors foster a caring, encouraging environment that helps kids thrive and learn! Read below to learn more about our talented team:
Arusa Khan, Center Director
Arusa is a graduate of the University of Waterloo, with her major in Economics. In December 2014, she graduated, got married, and soon later, made the move from Toronto, Canada, to Chicago, U.S.A. to live with her husband and continue her occupational journey. While attending the University of Waterloo, she tutored university level students in several subjects including chemistry, econometrics, statistics, and last but not least, math. Also, with her being the oldest of 22 grandchildren, she has plenty of experience teaching mathematics to children of all ages. She is currently studying to take her Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT), and following that, will begin applying to Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs, including the MBA program at her dream school, Northwestern University’s Kellogg Gradate School of Management. When Arusa is not busy with tutoring and studying for her GMAT, she enjoys spending time with her family, staying active at her local fitness club, and working as a freelance makeup artist.
John Nations, Assistant Center Director
Since graduating from New Trier High School, John earned his Bachelor's Degree from Wake Forest University in Economics. At an early age, he became very interested in math and problem solving. His other passion has been working with children. He has worked as an assistant soccer coach and spent many summers teaching tennis at Old Willow Club here in Glenview. John is looking forward to sharing his passion for math with students and teaching them fun, creative ways to solve problems.
Nika Walczak, Administrative Assistant
Nika was born in Poland, and moved to the US at the age of 7. She graduated from New Trier High School, and continued on to graduate from Loyola University in Chicago with a history major. After college she lived in Japan on the island of Hokkaido as an Assistant Language Teacher, teaching English to high school students in the town of Engaru. After returning home to Wilmette, Nika spent several years as a volunteer at the Field Museum of Natural History, where she continued expanding on her love of history and culture as a docent in the Inside Ancient Egypt exhibit. Currently an administrative assistant at Mathnasium of Kenilworth, Nika enjoys writing in her spare time, as well as taking care of her two cats and one dog.
Irsyad Adam, Instructor
Irsyad currently attends high school and would like to go on to study applied mathematics and work as a mathematician. He enjoys playing tennis, chess, golf, working out, reading and listening to music. His favorite thing about math is just when it seems like a dilemma, you put the pieces together in just the right way and the problem is solved.
Advice to Mathnasium students: Have fun!
Fun Fact: He is Muslim.
Favorite number: 97, because it is the prime number just before 100.
Math joke: What do you get if you divide the circumference of a jack-o-lantern by its diameter? A pumpkin pi!
Andrea Anderson, Instructor
Andrea's professional background includes management consulting, staffing and human resources work, and credit analysis. She is a Yale University graduate with a B.A. in Economics. Additionally, she received her M.B. A. from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. Andrea has been a dedicated volunteer in her community, her children's school, her church and for her college in its undergraduate selection process. She and her husband have raised two sons who are currently college students. Andrea enjoys working with children through young adults, and she loves math - a great combination for teaching at Mathnasium!
Victor Bienko, Instructor
Victor studied Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech. His dream job is to be an engineer for a ski or snowboard company. Victor enjoys playing video games, skiing, skateboarding and in line skating. His favorite thing about math is how systematic and definite math is. It’s like a puzzle the way you solve problems one step at a time.
Advice to Mathnasium students: Jump right into your worksheets and keep your momentum going!
Fun fact: Victor skateboards down hills.
Favorite number: 144 is cool since it’s the square root of 12.
Math joke: I put my root beer in a square glass. Now it’s just beer.
Barbara Fonda, Instructor
Barbara graduated from University of Northern Colorado with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. She went from accounting at an advertising agency to preschool teacher to junior high math and geometry teacher to marketing for a learning materials company. Then came the years of her real passion: being a mother. At times during that period, Barbara tutored math as well as coordinated math programs with tutors and students. When the kids were all in school, she became a part time teacher in a movement oriented preschool. After 16 years there, Barbara needed a change. She currently volunteers at The Art Institute, under the umbrella of the docent program, as a greeter for school groups. Her other volunteer opportunity and passion is cuddling at The Cradle. Mathnasium’s program caught Barbara’s attention as a terrific approach to helping kids understand and therefore enjoy maybe even love math! Tutoring here is a wonderful addition to Barbara’s child-centered activities.
David Green, Instructor
David studied Music at Drexel University, General Science at Rutgers University and Arts and Sciences at Gloucester College. Someday he’d like to be a professor and researcher of physics. David’s interests include studying physics and mathematics, baseball, music, football and travelling. His favorite thing about math is that math is the language of the universe. Through math, we are able to understand things better.
Advice to Mathnasium students: Many doors of opportunity open to those who understand math.
Fun fact: David tried out for the Philadelphia Phillies!
Favorite number: i, because i is imaginary. As Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”
Math joke: Why shouldn’t you let advanced math intimidate you? Because it’s really as easy as pi.
Dana Hankin, Instructor
Dana earned a BS in Psychology from University of Wisconsin-Madison and will attend graduate school to earn a Masters degree in Secondary Education. Eventually Dana would like to be a high school math teacher and coach a sport. She enjoys spending time with friends and family, running and biking. Dana loves the problem-solving aspect of math because it’s like solving puzzles.
Advice to Mathnasium students: Doing plenty of practice problems is the key to understanding math.
Fun fact: Dana can juggle and ride a unicycle.
Favorite number: 5 but she’s not sure why.
Math joke: Parallel lines have so much in common…it’s a shame they’ll never meet.
Cheng Jin, Instructor
Cheng is a senior at Northwestern University majoring in mathematics and economics. He is also in the process of obtaining a secondary teaching license through the School of Education and Social Policy. Cheng is hoping to be a high school math teacher next fall. He has a great passion for helping to make students succeed and having a positive influence on their lives. In his free time, Cheng likes to play video games, basketball, and travel around the world. He has been to 12 different countries! Cheng loves how math has so many real-life applications. He very much enjoys math games and puzzles!
Advice to Mathnasium students: Be kind, be respectful, and always try your best!
Fun fact: Cheng was not born in the United States, and he is fluent in Mandarin Chinese!
Favorite number: 24, because it’s his birth date and the number of his favorite NBA player.
Favorite math quote: You have to be odd to be number one.
Greg Korak, Instructor
Greg graduated from Oak Park-River Forest High School and attended the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering with highest honors followed by a Master’s in Business Administration while working for the Army Corps of Engineers. His first job out of school was with Avon Products at their manufacturing plant in Morton Grove where he held numerous management positions in engineering, production management, quality and financial analysis. Successive roles expanded to the regional then global levels and he recently completed his forty-year career with Avon as Director of Global Engineering. During the past eleven years he has been a volunteer tutor focusing on high school math at Family Matters, a community center in the North of Howard neighborhood of Chicago, and he is a past Board member. He also tutors adults at Connections for the Homeless in Evanston. Greg enjoys establishing long-term relationships with students and watching them progress in their skills and maturity. He is passionate about taking the puzzlement and fear out of math for students and replacing it with understanding, proficiency and an appreciation of the joys of mathematics.
Ian Kuo, Instructor
Ian is originally from Michigan. He is an undergraduate at Northwestern University studying Biological Sciences and Spanish. With experience in Calculus in both high school and college as well as other tutoring experience, he enjoys math because of the challenge of figuring out how to get to the final solution like a puzzle and wants to share that same enjoyment with others. He is also on the Northwestern Crew team and a part of NU Community Health Corps. In his downtime, he enjoys to ski during the winter or, when he finds the time, he loves to cook.
Dusan Markovic, Instructor
Dusan is a recent graduate of Glenbrook South. He has been inducted into both the Cum Laude Society and National Honor Society as well as having received the honor of Glenbrook Scholar . Dusan has completed AP Calculus BC, Linear Algebra, and Multivariable Calculus and plans to continue his studies in math (as well as economics) at Northwestern this fall. His other passions include reading and playing basketball.
Hamed Naimipour, Instructor
Hamed’s experience as a tutor began when he volunteered to help students from an underprivileged school with math assignments. As an undergraduate student at the University of Illinois at Chicago, he had a chance to tutor science and mathematics courses more extensively. He thinks mathematics is a way of thinking with many applications in everyday life. Hamed is delighted to use the Mathnasium teaching methods to help create a friendly environment where students can thrive and improve their math skills.
Serene Philip, Instructor
Serene’s desire to become an instructor at Mathnasium derived from the idea of working in a friendly environment with a personalized approach to individual students. One inspirational quote she enjoys is “The world of mathematics opens up a world that you never imagined when you take advantage of the possibilities it opens up to you, whether it be seeing the beauty in things or opening up more lifelong opportunities” (Author Unknown). Her experience with AP Calculus AB and AP Statistics in high school strengthened her interest and enthusiasm for math. For 3 years, Serene volunteered as a peer tutor, helping other high school students in their courses.
Jakob Reinke, Instructor
Jakob is a senior at Evanston Township High School. He loves math and has taken BC Calculus, and MV Calculus. He is currently enrolled in Linear Algebra and an introductory course on Combinatorics, Graph Theory, and Non-Euclidian Geometry. In addition to mathematics, Jakob is currently conducting research regarding the synthesis of biodiesel. He is involved in theatre and is a student coordinator for Evanston Township High School’s Holocaust Remembrance week. He also loves to play soccer.
Liz Shewchuck, Instructor
Liz is a 2011 graduate of Loyola University in Chicago, with a degree in Elementary Education with an endorsement in Middle School Mathematics. She then went on to earn a Masters in Education from National Louis University in 2013, and taught for three years on the south side of Chicago before coming back home to teach 7th and 8th grade math at the school in Glenview that she attended as a child. In her free time Liz enjoys going to Cubs and Blackhawks games, and hanging out with her golden retriever, Biscuit.
Jake Theis, Instructor
Jake grew up in Northern Virginia where he cultivated a passion for math. He completed Multivariable Calculus before graduating High School with a perfect SAT math score. He went on to attain a Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Indiana. Throughout his education, Jake worked as a tutor. First, as part of the upper elementary gifted and talented program. Later, as a resource for Indiana high school students in advanced physics and math as well as his peers in the mechanical engineering department. Jake is looking forward to sharing the excitement and joy that comes from learning math and using that knowledge to expand intellectual horizons.
Sarah Wong, Instructor
Sarah is a freshman at Northwestern University in pursuit of a Bachelors of Science in computer science through the McCormick School of Engineering. She graduated from New Trier in 2015, where she gained experience tutoring math to other high school students. She is involved in the YMCA’s mentoring program Project SOAR and sings in one of the a cappella groups at Northwestern. Besides her passion for helping kids to gain confidence in math, she enjoys reading, playing piano and guitar, and experiencing the music scene in Chicago.
Brendan Yapp, Instructor
Brendan studies Economics at Northwestern University. He enjoys reading, tutoring and eating steak. Brendan’s favorite thing about math is the logical nature of it.
Advice to Mathnasium students: Make sure you understand the core concept before applying little tricks and shortcuts.
Fun fact: Brendan slept through an earthquake.
Favorite number: 5, because everything is so easy when dealing with 5.
Math joke: 789?
J. Steve Santacruz, Owner
Steve graduated from DePaul University from the Honors Accounting Program with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and later received his law degree from DePaul. One of Steve's main passions in life is teaching children. He has been a little league baseball coach since college and enjoys coaching his own two boys in baseball. Steve brings that passion to Mathnasium - hoping to influence and enrich the lives of children through nurturing a passion and appreciation for math. Most students simply need more focused instruction in order to excel. "The Mathnasium method achieves this and much more, due to the richness and breadth of the Mathnasium curriculum. It is the ideal adjunct for a student?s daily classroom instruction, whether the child is struggling or advanced." Through Mathnasium, Steve is excited about being able to teach math to children in a way that makes sense to them. He also looks forward to teaching children the importance of strong study skills, which will serve them in subjects beyond math as they make their way through high school and on to college. Steve and his wife, Karen, are busy raising two sons, Austin and Dylan. They look forward to serving your family!
Karen Santacruz, Owner
Karen graduated from Western Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education with an emphasis in Athletic Training. She has a Master of Science from Northeastern Illinois University in Exercise Science and Cardiac Rehabilitation. Before starting a family Karen worked as an Athletic Trainer for Illinois Sportsmedicine and Addison Trail High School. She then taught physical education and was the Head Athletic Trainer at Stevenson High School. While raising their two boys Karen has taught PE part-time, coaches her sons' sports teams, is a substitute teacher, and volunteers her time in boy scouting and at St. Joseph school. Karen loves working with children, and is excited about opening Mathnasium!! She has always been a strong advocate for developing fitness in children, and knows how important math skills are to the overall educational development of a child. "I've always been a firm believer in teaching kids in a way they can understand. This allows for a love of learning whatever the subject!! The Mathnasium method does this so well, and allows kids to "work out" their minds!"
Betty Wang, Director of Operations, Owner
Betty graduated from New Trier High School and obtained her Bachelor of Science from Northwestern University in Biomechanical Engineering. Mathnasium's philosophy on learning and teaching resonated with Betty's belief that learning is at its best when it occurs in a nurturing environment where students can cast aside their fear and frustration. "Mathnasium offers an unique learning environment and individualized learning plans to helps students make sense of Math. It really makes math fun!"
Sam Larimer, Director of Training/Operations Associate
Sam hails from northwest Indiana, where he completed his B.S. in Mathematics and minor in Civil Engineering at Purdue University Calumet. His interests vary all over the spectrum, from the great outdoors to an engrossing role-playing game to rooting for the Cubbies, Bears & Blackhawks. Most of all, though, his adoration for math has led him to pursue interests in actuarial science and statistics. New to the North Shore, he is excited to help Mathnasium students break into the puzzle-solving world of math that he’s enjoyed his entire life.